|Mass.Gov Home Page||State Agencies||State A-Z Topic List|
Designated Port Area Bulletin - September 1998
The four major ports outside of Boston Harbor (Gloucester, Salem, New Bedford/Fairhaven, and Fall River) continue moving ahead with their efforts in port planning and dredge planning, with the assistance and direction of Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management (CZM). An update on activities since June is provided below.
Massachusetts' Four Port Planning Initiative
Gloucester - CZM and Gloucester continue to work closely with the city's harbor plan project coordinator (Dale Brown), planning consultants (ICON Architecture), and the Gloucester Harbor Planning Committee on the development of an effective harbor plan. Numerous deliverables have laid the foundation for exploring future waterfront options. From these reports, the city examined the current harbor, developed and implemented an active public participation program, established a successful decision-making structure, and further explored the market trends and economic opportunities. After a well-attended public workshop in May, and several lengthy meetings, the committee chose the priority activities to be more closely examined in a feasibility analysis.
The consultants began the feasibility assessment in August and will present their report to the committee at their meeting on September 22. Subsequently, the committee will decide on a "preferred alternative" scenario (including associated activities) that best meets the goals and criteria established by the city. This will form the basis of the draft Harbor Plan. The draft plan is expected to be released in November 1998, followed by a series of public workshops.
Salem - CZM continues to work with project coordinator (Fara Courtney) and harbor planning consultants (The Cecil Group) as the city enthusiastically approaches the development of the draft harbor plan. The Harbor Plan Committee developed an innovative public outreach strategy, which has engaged both the business and the neighborhood stakeholders. While keeping an eye on historical and cultural assets of the waterfront, the committee investigated market trends and economic opportunities. Several scenarios are under consideration for the harbor, which provide different ways to achieve the following objectives: development of a terminal wharf for commercial vessels, expansion of waterfront access, and enhancement of the tourism link to the waterfront and its cultural and historical resources. After public comment on these scenarios, the consultant assessed the feasibility of the primary land and waterside elements within these scenarios. This feasibility analysis was presented to the committee at their August meeting.
The Harbor Plan Committee has scheduled several working sessions, each focusing on a different study area along the waterfront (i.e., the community waterfront, the commercial waterfront, and the tourist harbor/industrial port). The results of these sessions will be synthesized into a detailed "preferred alternative" for the harbor and will be presented for adoption by the Harbor Plan Committee in September as the basis for the Harbor Plan. The draft Harbor Plan is expected to be completed in October 1998.
CZM is also working with the city on the second phase of the pre-development studies for the Port of Salem Expansion project, funded in October, 1997, by the Seaport Council. This project will enhance the port planning process and includes an engineering, environmental, and geotechnical impact study for the proposed pier construction for this "New Salem Wharf." In July, the "New Salem Wharf Study" was completed, which includes market conditions, cost evaluation, economic feasibility, and a preferred plan and implementation strategies.
New Bedford/Fairhaven - The New Bedford/Fairhaven Harbor Planning Committee continues to meet regularly, with both communities actively participating in the Port Plan development process. Near the end of September, public workshop(s) on the various alternatives for the port are expected. The potential alternatives range from major port expansion, through a more moderate port development with some mixed use commercial development, to a marine industrial focus with limited expansion. FXM Associates recently began an enhanced economic analysis, which is investigating the economic importance of these types of activities to the present and future port. The general direction of the planning process seems to be to strengthen and build upon existing maritime activities, while exploring potential tourist and commercial supporting uses within the port.
In August, New Bedford submitted a grant application to the Executive Office of Transportation and Construction (EOTC) for an expanded ferry feasibility study in the harbor. The city has coordinated with CZM on how this study will compliment and build upon work either already done in the harbor planning process or included within the harbor planning scope.
Fall River - The Fall River Harbor Planning Committee meets regularly to be briefed by the City's consultant, The Cecil Group, and progress continues on a steady track. In addition to previous completed deliverables that outline current issues and future development opportunities, the consultant has completed a Strategic Alternatives report. The three alternatives being considered by Fall River are Tourism and Economic Development, Mixed Use Development, and Marine Commerce and Industrial Development. All three alternatives include a proposed significant expansion of tourist opportunities along the waterfront. Significant issues regarding the eventual use of the State Pier Facility are being discussed.
At the most recent Harbor Planning meeting on August 12, the consultant presented a summary of the feasibility assessment for each of the three alternatives. The full feasibility assessment is likely to be submitted to CZM for reimbursement in the near future.
Massachusetts' Dredge Material Management Initiative
To coordinate with the Four Ports Initiative, the statewide Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) is focusing on the Gloucester, Salem, New Bedford/Fairhaven, and Fall River. CZM continues to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to develop the DMMP and current activities include the following: